I Forgot My Anniversary. What Do I Do Now?

You’re doing your normal nine to five when suddenly it hits you: it’s your anniversary, and you’ve done zero planning. Time to panic? Not necessarily.

You’re not in an ideal situation, but you’re not doomed just yet. Take a deep breath and realize you’ve still got options. You goofed up, but it’s not the end of the world (yet). There are still ways to make things work out. Let us help you get you out of this tight spot—and guarantee you won’t forget again in future.

First: You Know Your Sweetheart Best

Be honest: is there anyone on earth who would be happy with gas station flowers? Forgetting your anniversary is a bad move, but buying a poor quality last minute gift will only dig a deeper hole. Is your sweetheart the type who loves to be pampered, or are they more matter of fact and down to earth?

In most instances, honesty is the best policy. Sometimes “I forgot” and an apology will buy you an extra day or so to set things straight. After all, we live in a busy world, and we’re all human. Your partner may be disappointed, but there’s a good chance they’ll understand.

Others genuinely love celebrating anniversaries, and they’ll be quite upset if you’ve forgotten the biggest day of the year in your life as a couple. The evening ahead won’t be fun, but all is not lost. A little legwork before you share the news that you’ve forgotten can make or break recovering from your gaffe.

Second: Make Sure You’ve Got A Plan B.

Regardless of how your significant other will react, it’s poor form not to set things right. This involves making sure you’ve got a solid plan for proceeding.

The moment you realize you’ve forgotten your anniversary is the moment you should start planning a belated celebration. A nice dinner, a weekend away, a gift they’ve had their eye on—all of those are worthwhile anniversary plans.

You can choose to fess up to your mistake and present your plan to celebrate in future, or you can bluff a bit and sell them on something upcoming (“It’s not ready yet”) instead. If you choose to bluff, date-specific events are great. Concert tickets are especially good: it’s something both of you can look forward to, and it gets you off the hook for your mental slip up.

Whether or not you choose to be completely on the up and up about your mistake, here’s some life advice that will serve you well in almost any interpersonal situation: don’t present a problem without also presenting a solution. In other words, don’t just fess up to forgetting your anniversary and shrug. Have a great alternate celebration planned.

Third: Follow Through!

You’ve successfully navigated the choppy waters of forgetting one of the biggest events of the year. Don’t make it worse! If you promised that fancy dinner or trip away and you didn’t make those arrangements immediately, stop what you’re doing and start making them now.

You forgot something important, so if you can swing it, it’s a good idea to kick things up a notch: a slightly fancier restaurant, a nicer hotel room, an extra day of vacation. It’s not the dollar amount: It’s the thought that counts, and you forgot. Make up for it, one way or another, and make it thoughtful! The idea isn’t to spend your way out of the situation, it’s to let your partner know how much you care about them regardless of your faulty memory.

Don’t Let It Happen Again!

However you choose to proceed, pencil this one into the “lesson learned” category and make sure not to repeat the error. Again, this isn’t about keeping score or your own ego. It’s about letting your partner know they’re valued. So how do you make sure you don’t forget again?

A good old fashioned calendar reminder is a good place to start. Whether it’s digital or pen and paper, the calendar is your friend. Here’s the thing: getting reminded of your anniversary on the day it happens doesn’t help anyone.

Mark a date at least two weeks in advance so you have time to plan properly. If it’s one of the biggies, give yourself more time to plan. And while you can plan a nice vacation in a day, giving yourself ample time to research locations and compare prices on flights can only work in your favor.

In fact, the best time to plan next year’s anniversary is the day after this year’s. Did this anniversary go the way you both wanted it to? What would you change? What would you want to stay the same? In many cases, you can set next year’s anniversary plans in motion right away. While you don’t need to have every detail planned, doing a little early legwork will not only help things go more smoothly the next time, but it will also take off some of the repeated panic as it comes to mind as the year goes on.

Photo of author

Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.